Shelter Cove from above

Shelter Cove Airport is a jewel among the airports of Northern California. It is a public airport located in Shelter Cove, California and is operated by Shelter Cove Resort and serves Humboldt County. The airport covers 50 acres and features one runway. Its close proximity to the ocean and an on-site restaurant make it a popular fly-in destination, weather permitting.

The airport provides a convenient gateway to explore the beautiful coastal region of California. However, it is worth noting that the airport has a history of accidents and incidents, highlighting the importance of proper safety measures and pre-flight inspections.


The airfield is perched on a small promontory that juts out into the Pacific, and both ends of the runway are only a few feet from the water’s edge. The best way to approach the airport from the south is to fly along the coast. Depending where you start, try not to miss the Buddhist temple complex, with splendid buildings and golden domes, situated about 2 miles inland from the sea, almost exactly on a level with Healdsburg (KHES). It’s marked on the charts simply as “temple”, but this hardly does justice to this huge set of buildings.

Shelter Cove runway

In Shelter Cove, you land practically in the middle of a 9-hole golf course. The old Cape Mendocino lighthouse, dating back to 1867, is only a few minutes’ walk away. The whole area is a haven of solitude and tranquility. Shelter Cove owes its relative isolation to the steep cliffs that caused the constructors of Highway US1 to leave out this section of the coast. To this day, it remains only accessible by means of an extremely narrow, winding mountain road, by boat, or by air.

If you’d like to spend more time enjoying the peace and rugged charm of Shelter Cove, there are two places to stay overnight situated right next to the airport, Ocean Front Inn and Tides Inn.

Shelter Cove Lighthouse